We are here to make this easier on you.
This part of our website is for parents or guardians to review with kids or teens watching their parents go through a divorce. We’re here to help everyone involved in a separation!
CHILDREN’S BILL OF RIGHTS
AMERICAN ACADEMY OF MATRIMONIAL LAWYERS
WHEN PARENTS ARE NOT TOGETHER
Every kid has rights, particularly when mom and dad are splitting up. Below are some things your parents should never forget — and you should never let them — when your family is in the midst of a break-up.
You have the right to love both your parents. You also have the right to be loved by both of them. That means you should not feel guilty about wanting to see your dad or your mom at any time. It is important for you to have both your parents in your life, particularly during difficult times such during their break-up. Your parents may want to separate, but they will always be your dad and mom, and sometimes it is a good idea to remind them of this fact!
You do not have to choose one parent over the other. If you have an opinion about which parent you want to live with, let it be known. But nobody can force you to make that choice. If your parents can’t work it out, a judge may make the decision for them.
You are entitled to all the feelings you are having. Do not be embarrassed by what you are feeling. It is scary when your parents break up, and you are allowed to be scared. Or angry. Or sad. Or disappointed.
You have the right to live in a safe environment. This means that nobody is allowed to put you in danger, either physically or emotionally. If one of your parents is hurting you, tell someone — either your other parent or a trusted adult like a teacher or the school nurse.
You do not belong in the middle of your parents fight. Sometimes your parents may get so caught up in their own problems that they forget that you are just a kid, and that you cannot handle their adult problems. If they start putting you in the middle of their dispute, remind them that it is their fight, not yours.
Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins are still part of your life. Even if you are living with one parent, you can still visit with your relatives on your other parent’s side of the family. You will always be a part of their lives, even if your parents are not together anymore.
You have the right to be a child. Kids should not worry about adult problems. Concentrate on your studies, your homework, your friends, your activities, etc. Your mom and dad just need your love. They can handle the rest, because they are grown-ups!
You have the right to an attorney. A kid who is 12 years old or older has the right to hire a lawyer to communicate his point of view to the Court, when there is a debate about custody or taking out rights. Ask for help at your school if you would like to have some advice from a lawyer, or if you would like to speak to the judge who will decide with whom you will live. Remember it is the judge who will decide, not you, but your thoughts and feelings can guide the judge in his decision.
YOUR PARENTS’ SEPARATION IS NOT YOUR FAULT, AND DON’T BLAME YOURSELF.
Special Concerns of Children Committee, March, 1998